DVD Talk Interview: Samantha Bee and Jason Jones
All in the Family: Samantha Bee & Jason Jones take a Detour and go Full FrontalApparently, the family that makes TV for TBS together, stays together, as former The Daily Show correspondants and married couple Samantha Bee and Jason Jones have a pair of new shows on the network, with Bee’s late-night series Full Frontal premiering February 8th, and Jones’ new sitcom The Detour hitting screens in April. The pair sat down with DVDTalk’s Francis Rizzo III at the New York ComicCon to talk about Canadian television, eating Fidel Castro’s fruit and the romance of explosive diarrhea.
DVDTalk: You both have brief experience producing in Canada. Does any of that carry over to working on Full Frontal and The Detour?
Samantha Bee: I think so.
Jason Jones: Yeah, of course.
Bee: I think it’s all part of the journey.
Jones: The greatest part of that experience in Canada, is getting your mistakes made early and no one seeing them.
Bee: Like learning that you should never shoot your own movie in your actual house.
Jones: Yes, that was a great lesson.
Bee: One of the greatest takeaways I’ve ever learned.
Jones: It was a great training ground, because truly no one saw that work. And I’m not saying it’s bad--
Bee: No, it was really good.
Jones: Just so many mistakes were made, and we learned so much from that process, so then when we came down and did The Daily Show, we just learned so much there that those two worlds combined made for the perfect jump to these two shows.
Bee: I think that the experience in Canada too, taught us that being self-reliant is possible. Like we can actually just execute something. You don’t have any money, you don’t have any resources, [but] we could still make something that we think is really funny. We’re still proud of Coopers’ Christmas. It’s a really funny movie. I’d still watch it.
And so now that we have more resources, you get to do bigger stories, bigger set-pieces, but I think we’ve always been self-starters, I would say.
Jones: Mm hmm.
DVDTalk: How do you think these shows can stand out in a crowded television landscape?
Bee: You have a lot of choices in your television programming these days. That’s true.
Jones: Yeah, I just read there’s 475 scripted shows on TV. That’s insane.
Bee: I do think we’re really doing something different with both shows actually, and being really conscious of that. With The Detour in particular, I think we’re doing a serialized comedy, which I think is quite different for a comedy. The proper word...it’s not quite a cliffhanger, but each episode is intended to leave you curious for what is next to come, as opposed to just a standalone...just a bunch of jokes sitting in a bucket...it has a continuing story.
Jones: There’s like a mild resolution every episode--
Jones: --but there’s still an umbrella that we’re operating under that does not resolve itself.
Bee: It’s very intentional, because that’s how we consume television. We watch a lot of drama, truthfully. We watch The Walking Dead, and we watch all of those shows, because we want to know what comes next, and we want to apply some of that to comedy, which we love executing.
DVDTalk: People will make comparisons between The Detour and the recent film Vacation, naturally.
Jones and Bee: Uh huh.
DVDTalk: How do you disavow them of that connection?
Jones: Just by saying you’re stupid (laughs).
Bee: It’s an obvious comparison, but they are nothing alike.
Jones: I think we actually shot the pilot at almost the same time as the movie was shooting.
Jones: When I saw the first trailer, I was like, “Oh f**k.” Blue car, blue car.
Bee: But let me say this: our blue car, was our actual blue car.
Jones: That is true.
Bee: That is an authentic blue car that we owned, as we were horrified, because we ordered a car from Toyota, and we said dark blue, and they produced a car in that color, and we’re like “That is not dark blue.” They were like, “That’s dark blue.” And we said “Dark blue is navy blue.” And they’re like, “No, no, no...that’s called midnight.” So we never checked the paint chip, and we ended up with that disco blue car, which was the basis for that. And then somehow, they had that in the Vacation movie.
Jones: Listen, comparisons are inevitable. The thing is, we don’t actually spend that much time in the car. And it’s also not a trip where...I feel Vacation is mostly about, let’s get the family together and we’re going to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, and then we’ll see these people here, and go to the Grand Canyon and stuff. [The Detour] is more about let’s get the f**k to the beach, because let’s spend some time on the beach, and it’s the roadblocks along the way.
Bee: It’s really more--
Jones: It’s more Planes, Trains and Automobiles than Vacation.
Bee: But a TV-MA version of that, I would say.
Jones: Well, Planes, Trains and Automobiles has got some…
Bee: I think ours is…
Jones: Planes, Trains and Automobiles is actually [Rated R].
Bee: Oh really? I think ours would be [Rated R] as well.
Jones: “I want my f**cking car right f**king now.”
Bee: That’s right.
DVDTalk: What was the first trip you two ever took together?
Bee: We took a trip to Cuba together.
Jones: Cuba was--well, I guess camping.
Bee: Oh, well camping..
Jones: We camped a little bit, but Cuba was our first big trip.
Bee: It was two and a half weeks of travelling across Cuba.
Jones: I think it was her birthday. I bought her a really cheap trip to Cuba. In fact, I think I just bought plane tickets. That was how broke I was.
Jones: She said “Where are we staying?” I said, “I don’t know.”
Bee: “We’re probably camping.”
Jones: And we camped. We went to a beach and camped, which...we rented a bungalow or a shack--
Bee: A cabana.
Jones: Yeah, a cabana. And we turned on the lights and just heard animals--
Bee: And insects.
Jones: --scurrying away. And we said, “OK, let’s set the tent up.” And it was beautiful. That night we had the best lobster we ever had. Guy pulling it right out of the ocean and onto the barbeque.
Bee: It was a really great trip. What a blessing, you get to go to Cuba yourself now.
Jones: It really is a beautiful country. We went to Fidel Castro’s--
Jones: Yeah, his revolutionary headquarters.
Bee: In the mountains.
Jones: It was his tree fort.
Bee: It was just us.
Jones: How did he take over a country in a tree fort? There was a hatch that he had, and they said this was his escape route.
Jones: And they pulled it up, and it’s just like a sh***y Batman movie. It was a 20-foot drop down to a ravine, and the ravine went out to the ocean. Like, that was it?
Bee: And they said, this is his orange tree and there were oranges on it. You want an orange? And we were eating Fidel Castro’s orange.
Jones: Che Guevara would have eaten from that tree.
Bee: It was a really interesting trip. That probably sealed the deal for us.
Jones: Well, I had explosive diarrhea on that trip.
Bee: And that’s what sealed the deal. Then we knew we loved each other.
Jones: I knew she wasn’t leaving after she heard it, because it was horrendous.
Bee: Explosive was the correct word.
DVDTalk: On Full Frontal, will we see field pieces like your Daily Show work?
Bee: I do intend to make field work a huge part of the show, because that’s what I love to do. That’s what I loved to do most on The Daily Show and that’s where I felt my voice was the most distinctive on the show. It’s going to be a huge part of Full Frontal. I absolutely want to do that. If I couldn’t do that on Full Frontal, I don’t even want to do Full Frontal. That’s how badly I want to do it.
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